False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent

False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent

4.6 3
by Jim Petro, Nancy Petro
     
 

Former Ohio Attorney General crusades against wrongful conviction and shows how citizens can prevent this terrifyingly common miscarriage of justice.

“Wrongful criminal conviction is much more frequent than most Americans believe. The thought of imprisoned innocent people haunted me. I became determined to try to do something about it.” 

Overview

Former Ohio Attorney General crusades against wrongful conviction and shows how citizens can prevent this terrifyingly common miscarriage of justice.

“Wrongful criminal conviction is much more frequent than most Americans believe. The thought of imprisoned innocent people haunted me. I became determined to try to do something about it.”  - Jim Petro, Former Attorney General of Ohio

The flaws in America’s execution of justice lead to an unacceptable number of wrongful criminal convictions. Jim Petro was confronted with this issue when the guilt of several convicts serving life sentences was called into question. In False Justice, Jim and Nancy Petro detail and challenge eight myths of justice:

  1. “Everyone in prison claims innocence.”
  2. “Our system almost never convicts an innocent person.”
  3. “Only the guilty confess.”
  4. “Wrongful convictions are caused by innocent human error.”
  5. “An eyewitness is the best testimony.”
  6. “Conviction errors get corrected on appeal.”
  7. “It dishonors the victim to question a conviction.”
  8. “If the justice system has problems, the pros will fix them.”

False Justice corrects these common misunderstandings with an important truth: true justice requires constant vigilance and is the responsibility every citizen.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The former attorney general of Ohio may be an unusual advocate for overturning wrongful convictions, but he makes a well-reasoned and articulate argument for rethinking the American justice system, where innocent people can be convicted, then exonerated years later by post-conviction DNA testing. First approached to advocate on behalf of Clarence Elkins-convicted of rape and murder on questionable eyewitness testimony and no physical evidence-Petro decided to further his interest in emerging DNA technology and explore other wrongful convictions. The husband-and-wife authors dismantle eight myths regarding the justice system: everyone in prison claims innocence; our system almost never convicts an innocent person; only guilty people confess; wrongful convictions are the result of innocent human error; and so on. Interspersing case law with research about topics like DNA testing and the conflict between the law enforcement and psychiatric communities over the reliability of eyewitness testimony, Petro uncovers widespread problems and suggests viable solutions without a lot of scientific jargon.
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From the Publisher
“[False Justice is] an important book, written in straight-forward, unadorned prose, that is deserving of a national audience.”  —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“False Justice is a compelling and important read for anyone concerned with the criminal justice system or perhaps public policy issues in general.” —Toledo Blade

“The law enforcement personage who recognizes the problem of false convictions is a rare and refreshing breed...[i]n my years of research, I have heard only a few prosecutors acknowledge the breadth and depth of the problem. In his new book False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent (January, Kaplan), Petro outdoes them all.”  —Steve Weinberg, author of Taking on the Trust

“False Justice is a fascinating and disturbing explanation of how easily our criminal justice system can convict the innocent and the endless challenges involved in finding true justice.”      Anchora Magazine

“Jim Petro reveals in False Justice how the lessons of DNA analysis of crime scene evidence changed his views on criminal justice. Petro became motivated not only to represent the wrongfully convicted but also to change the system. This former prosecutor and state attorney general is an important voice for criminal justice reform.”  —Barry Scheck, Co-founder and Co-director, the Innocence Project, The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University

“The former attorney general of Ohio may be an unusual advocate for overturning wrongful convictions, but he makes a well-reasoned and articulate argument for rethinking the American justice system, where innocent people can be convicted, then exonerated years later by post-conviction DNA testing.”   —Publishers Weekly

“False Justice is an important book, coming as it does from a former attorney general of Ohio and a conservative Republican.”  —Rob Warden, Executive Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions, Northwestern School of Law

“For community groups that discuss books together and in any criminology or criminal justice class, the Petros' book is a rare gem in critical writing about criminal justice. Spread the word.” —Hal Pepinsky, Professor Emeritus, Criminal Justice, Indiana University

“Compelling in its content and engagingly written, False Justice draws upon the lived experience of the first state attorney general to intervene on behalf of a wrongfully convicted prisoner. With a growing awareness of the nature and magnitude of the errors made by our criminal justice system, the Petros take the reader inside a number of actual cases, summarize extensive research on the causes and consequences of wrongful conviction, and expose eight common myths that inspire false confidence in our system of justice and undermine our efforts at reform.”   —C. Ronald Huff, Ph.D., Past-President, American Society of Criminology and co-author, Convicted but Innocent

“When most law-enforcement officials are confronted with an inmate's claim of innocence, they do everything they can to dispute it. Not Jim Petro. When the former Ohio attorney general encountered such a case he spurred the innocent inmate's release, explored how wrongful convictions occur and pushed for reforms. False Justice is the compelling story of his pursuit of true justice. “  —Martin D. Yant, author of Presumed Guilty and Private Invesigator

“The compelling narrative of individual cases highlights the reasons that the system sometimes gets it wrong. Whether it be because of faulty identification, false informant testimony, or other shortcoming, this book presents in very readable format why innocent people get convicted. In addition the book highlights how small and often inexpensive policy reforms can go a long way to addressing the shortcomings.”  —Robert M. Bloom, Professor at Boston College Law Schoo

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781607144670
Publisher:
Kaplan Publishing
Publication date:
01/04/2011
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Jim Petro is a former Republican Attorney General of Ohio. Throughout his 35-year career as an attorney and 28-year career as an elected public office holder, he has been publicly committed to strong law-and-order platforms. As Ohio Auditor of State, he and his team cleaned up a corrupt office and performed audits that led to the criminal conviction of an unprecedented 110 public officials in Ohio. His tenure as Attorney General was marked by a nation-leading effort that added 210,000 DNA profiles from Ohio felons and misdemeanants to the national DNA Codis database. This effort resulted in the immediate solving of dozens of cold cases, hundreds over the ensuing months and years.

Nancy Petro has 35 years of full-time experience in marketing, publishing, and business management and has taken an active role in her husband's political career.

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False Justice: Eight Myths That Convict the Innocent 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Roo-Mom More than 1 year ago
This book is important, compelling, easy to read, and surprisingly bipartisan. No matter what your political affiliation is or what your knowledge is of Petro's political career, you will not doubt Petro's sincerity about the information he is presenting and his belief in the changes that need to happen in our courts. This could have been as dry as a textbook, but I found it engaging for both my heart and my brain. Most significantly, it makes me want to get involved in changing our judicial system as an "ordinary citizen;" Petro makes me a believer that every voice matters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very well written book that tells us about innocently convictions and DNA testings.  It also tells us about how wrongful convictions can be prevented and it challenges myths about our criminal justice system.  It is a great book that gives plenty of examples and stories and goes into detail about the eight myths that convict the innocent.  All together I loved the book and I recommend it to anyone who wants to find out more about our justice system and DNA testing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago